i wouldnt mind the polishing up, that would be good, but machine drum seems to do that within a totally diff context, one that seems to take out all the ruffness of juke and the hip hop attitude and energy etc. footwork right now seems to be in a kind of mid/late 80s rap phase. im waiting for its version of 90s hip hop come in, when it progresses a bit more and the producers get better. not sure if that will happen though as it doesnt seem like a genre thats really moving forward as such, it just is.
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 15:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
It's kind of a tacky, underproduced sound,
this is a big part of the appeal to me. also a lot of the drums sound unquantized to me.
― hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 1 September 2011 15:59 (1 year ago) Permalink
I get the rap comparison, but I also hear a lot of parallels with gabba and nosebleed - a lot of ideas that have been abandoned since those days. Agreed - polish shouldn't be about smoothing things down - if someone were to progress the sound it'd need to retain, perhaps amp up, the adrenaline of the circle.
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:01 (1 year ago) Permalink
not sure if that will happen though as it doesnt seem like a genre thats really moving forward as such, it just is.
Give it a break - Bangs and Works only came out less than a year ago, and already we're seeing external producers (Africa Hitech, Chrissy, Machinedrum, Sully) taking it on as key influence. Definitely see this going forwards - people adding vocals, bigger production. Only a matter of time till a footwork-inspired track gets in the charts I reckon.
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:04 (1 year ago) Permalink
It's really hard for me to even think of the Machinedrum record as a footwork record. Obviously, I see the elements in it that prompt the comparisons (not to mention its context, record label, etc), but it feels totally different. I like it because it doesn't feel like he's being overly reverential/cautious and trying to make "real" footwork, but nor is it so "IDM-fied" that it feels completely abstracted. I don't get people calling it sterile; there's some real rush-y fiery stuff on it, and some moments of real emotional beauty ("Come1" in particular). I started a thread on it a little while ago, actually:
― Clarke B., Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:05 (1 year ago) Permalink
the Dude Off 59th Street & Discovery mixes by RP Boo are some of the best footwork releases imo - still haven't heard anything as amazing as Freezaburn or Heavy Heat from anyone else making footwork.
― historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:07 (1 year ago) Permalink
I wouldn't compare Machinedrum's stuff to the actual footwork music. Not worth getting bogged down in that argument. That's like comparing Squarepusher and Aphex to Goldie etc. It's footwork-inspired electronica and leave it at that.
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:08 (1 year ago) Permalink
"Give it a break"
i love this stuff, but isnt it older than we think it is? cos yeah mu picking it up has alerted other producers to footwork, but as far as within the scene/city, i dont think its news anymore, its been going as is for a while now. dont think its on the wane or anything (im not close enough to know though), but i think maybe cos its so small, its hard to tell if there are new guys coming in who could progress it. then again the bangs and works comp seemed to have plenty of names on there so maybe theres more fresh blood than im thinking.
can we stop talking about that bloody machine drum record w/r/t footwork cos thats like including aphex or BOC in a convo about hip hop beats/production in the late 90s.
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
Haha, sorry "Give it a break" wasn't meant in any aggressive way. But it's only just starting to break out of its own scene-based and largely functional form. The question is, will it do a dubstep - itself at first a very insular scene which went off-the-scale in commerciality over several years?
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:27 (1 year ago) Permalink
rp boo - discoveryrp boo - 2008
― historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:30 (1 year ago) Permalink
no way, it will never do a dubstep. this stuff, and i hate using this phrase cos its loaded, but i think footwork is prob too 'black' to really do a dubstep. dubstep went worldwide and mainstream cos its racially much more neutral. footwork is like grime, in this current climate, its just too hard and street to really crossover. and if i can be selfish, i dont think i want it to do a dubstep actually. if this was the mid 90s, it would have more chance to do a dubstep. or a jungle/drum n bass, rather (which is what its closer to sonically in some ways, though i know you werent talking about how it actually sounds, but jungle somehow managed to get mainstream plaudits/chart action despite being as hard as it was).
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
then again, if someone from UK BASS (ugh) could work some footwork into a poppy song, i dont see why it wouldnt enter the charts. but the chicago guys arent really finessed enough from what ive heard so far to do that on their own. but if benga or skream or someone did a footwork type banger it could prob do alright. im okay with that not happening for a while yet though.
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:37 (1 year ago) Permalink
then again, if someone from UK BASS (ugh) could work some footwork into a poppy song,
This is what I mean - I don't think it's inconceivable at all. Chrissy's sound is already designed for full on party-styles. I mean, the OG dubstep was about 12 guys nodding under hoods in a pitch-black room, and look where that went.
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
chrissys stuff is a bit silly though (as already noted upthread), its almost like meta party music, more about how its in love with party music than actually just BEING party music, if that makes sense. or maybe im creating false binaries. and iirc, the main party-hearty songs on chrissys album werent the footwork-y ones, they were the ones that were more like 90s mashups.
og dubstep like idk, horsepower is soft to me lol. i do love golden nugget, but all that dubby garage stuff was pretty boring. footwork is like grime, prob just too weird and hard and lo-fi for people to place right now. and rhythmically people are going to be confused by it. speaking of lo fi, the 1st song on flight muzik sounds like a really poor bit rate mp3!
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:46 (1 year ago) Permalink
although, if you told me in 2004 that dubstep would be massive, i prob wouldnt have believe you, so whos to say. but back then we all thought grime would blow, not dubstep lol.
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
og dubstep like idk, horsepower is soft to me lol. i do love golden nugget, but all that dubby garage stuff was pretty boring.
We've agreed on this in the past IIRC. I remember being convinced there was no commercial worth in dubstep. There was no conceivable way that this slow, unfocused sound could ever reach the charts. But after several major transmutations, it did, and to cut a long story short I had to eat a hat.
Incidentally, titchy, where are you based?
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
im in london man, wbu?
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 16:59 (1 year ago) Permalink
"if someone were to progress the sound it'd need to retain, perhaps amp up, the adrenaline of the circle."
this is otm btw
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 17:05 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm in North Herts, work in London.
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 17:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
no way, it will never do a dubstep. this stuff, and i hate using this phrase cos its loaded, but i think footwork is prob too 'black' to really do a dubstep
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 17:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
i don't think "too black" is any sort of stop-er-er to something crossing over or going super commercial - even grime cited as a reference technically crossed over i mean i first heard about it from mtv, it just didn't stay. like i want to say "UH RAP + HIP-HOP HI?" but it seems too obvious and maybe i'm not getting the suggestion.
― fauxmarc, Thursday, 1 September 2011 17:45 (1 year ago) Permalink
Also, I hate to be Mr. Hi-Fi Bore yet again, but how many ITT who aren't much impressed with, say, the Machinedrum record or the DJ Diamond record have only heard soundclips from the Planet Mu website, or YouTube videos, or other similarly fidelity-compromised outlets? I mean shit, this music gets so much of its energy and propulsion and vitality from BASS (I feel like Captain Obvious pointing that out)! It just sounds like skittery pitter-patter without that, and definitely not exciting... There are certain styles of music that I feel just cannot be properly evaluated on small systems.
― Clarke B., Thursday, September 1, 2011 7:42 AM Bookmark
I've been listening to the Machinedrum record on a good system and still think it's boring. I like the DJ Diamond tho.
― markers aurelius (The Reverend), Thursday, 1 September 2011 18:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
"like i want to say "UH RAP + HIP-HOP HI?" but it seems too obvious and maybe i'm not getting the suggestion."
rap made its inroads/developed itself in a diff era
plus juke is dance music
it will prob break out as much as ghettotech did
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 18:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
I can def see footwork nights getting popular in the UK - possibly with its own homegrown scene - developing out of disenchanted dubsteppers wanting to hear the next thing. Already so many producers are doing this melting pot thing where they'll try their hand at future garage, funky, dubstep, grime etc - what's stopping footwork creeping in?
― It was a Thursday night. I was working late... (dog latin), Thursday, 1 September 2011 19:08 (1 year ago) Permalink
audiences who don't have any footwork?
― hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 1 September 2011 19:48 (1 year ago) Permalink
uhm ... you mean it's a kind of techno or something? because disco is "dance music" too.
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 19:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think he was making a comparison to hip-hop
― hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 1 September 2011 20:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
sure disco was dance music but it was song based dance music
anyway using disco in this sort of argument is pretty wtf cos dance music hasnt really sounded like 70s disco since ummm the 70s
if juke had a load of 'watch my feets' your disco or even hip hop point could work but juke/footwork isnt that kind of music
― titchy (titchyschneiderMk2), Thursday, 1 September 2011 20:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
so ... is "watch my feet" dance music or song music?
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 21:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
also, song-based ... compared to what?
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 22:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
also footwork IS that kind
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 22:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
oops meant to delete that
anyway the more i think about it the more the comparison seems apt, a small group of regional producers reformatting a popular music to suit the needs of a particular social use for the music
now that is really just the script for the birth of any new genre, but i think it's relevant because the popular musics are related (soul & funk vs hip hop & r+b) and the reformatting method is based on "tape" edits in both cases, though the resulting sound is almost diametrically opposed (super long build and sustain in disco vs super choppy and abrupt in footwork)
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 22:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
also the social use aspect is similar - both have their roots in very functional dancefloor concerns
― mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 1 September 2011 22:58 (1 year ago) Permalink
Bangs & Works 2 out soon according to Boomkat... It'll be interesting to see what's in store.
― dog latin, Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:19 (1 year ago) Permalink
i've had this mix on my ipod waiting to listen to, although an hour of juke is a lot of juke: http://kidkameleon.com/2011/10/footwork-mix/ (download link seems to be down atm)
― this is unusual for batman. (Jordan), Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
one of chicago's bigger rising rappers has a couple juke rmxes on the youtube. no idea how these qualify as far as quality but they're likely 'authentically' chicago bedroom production deals
― The boyboy young jess (D-40), Wednesday, 26 October 2011 17:13 (1 year ago) Permalink
"DJ T-Why on the track"
(3 tunes on Bangs & Works Vol. 2, but a ton of just-as-good and even better stuff on his Soundcloud page, each clocking in at 1:34 long (ie. same grid, same tempo, same # of bars--they flow well from one-->next)
― "I think I relate to the Lawrence one the most." (Craig D.), Thursday, 27 October 2011 07:45 (1 year ago) Permalink
i burned out after the first page. sounds great but that is a relentless amount of juke tracks.
― this is unusual for batman. (Jordan), Thursday, 27 October 2011 18:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
dj nate is great
― flopson, Friday, 28 October 2011 05:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
really digging this comp - much more than the first one.
― Glo-Vember (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:01 (1 year ago) Permalink
'Bangs & Works 2' = great, totally overlooked it until very recently, have fallen totally for DJ MC - 'Y Fall', something about the incongruity of the downtempo repeated natural/vocal thing, off against the kung-fu computer game sample swooshing broken rhythm reminds me of great 80s Chicago house moods = double thumbs up.
― Yeah Yeah Bohney (Craigo Boingo), Monday, 16 January 2012 12:11 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah it's incredible
― flopson, Monday, 16 January 2012 15:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
worst track: dj rashad (cannot even comprehend how he could craft a synth line so cheesy & dinky)
best: girl i wanna hit the boots girl girl i wanna hit the boots throwed--hoes know i'm all about the loot fuck being ya boyfriend girl i wanna hit the boots girl girl i wanna hit the boots girl girl i wanna girl i wan wanna
― flopson, Monday, 16 January 2012 15:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
When was the last time you experienced Futureshock? I mean really experienced it — affectively, right down to your core. For my part, I got a small dose at the start of the year from James Blake’s self-titled debut. Sure, it had a history; Blake’s indebtedness to dubstep (even bordering on a kind of purism) has been well noted. But that doesn’t change the fact that his clever deployment of both bass and (particularly) space meant that pop sounded different now. This, suddenly, seemed to be the future. And sure enough, it was. So much so, in fact, that the future quickly began to sound dull again: present and, soon enough, altogether past.
Right now, just about everywhere on the planet other than in certain key enclaves in Chicago, footwork seems like the sound of the future. Strictly, it’s a kind of dance music. Or at least “that’s what it is in Chicago’s converted warehouses and rec centers,” as TMT’s Mr P recently put it, “where combatant footworkers form circles and take turns battling, dozens-style, with dazzlingly complex foot patterns.” Outside of such rarefied circles, however, nothing else sounds so Fresh, so New, so Vital, or so Different, even to the point of being Unpalatable — not Unintelligible necessarily, but literally Indecipherable at the level of the body.
In other words, if footwork induces a profound Futureshock, it’s because so many of its listeners simply don’t know what to do with it (yet). This is a sound, after all — a 21st-century audioscience, a mutant manifestation of what Kodwo Eshun calls the Futurhythmachine — that seems to have been spawned in a kind of splendid isolation: proof, finally (Reynolds be praised!), that yes they do still make scenes like they did in the good ol’ days.
By the time Planet Mu’s stellar Bangs & Works Vol. 1 burst onto the Hipster International’s collective radar late last year, the best and most confronting thing about footwork was that they (we?) weren’t immediately hip to it. How could we be? We’d been separated from the scene that birthed it by the tyranny of a cybergeography that seems to give us instant access to any music, any time, any where… but not quite, at least not in the way that a genre like footwork seems to demand. We can’t, after all, dance like this, can we? And when we listen on headphones, it can easily seem as if we’re somehow missing the point. This is Utilitarian music for which many of its listeners are yet to find a utility. Not that its makers give a shit, of course. And nor should they.
And so to Vol. 2, curated again by Brightonian Mike Paradinas, and this time showcasing a bunch of fresh new Chicago talent (Young Smoke, Jlin, DJ MC) as well as many of the stalwarts of the scene (DJ Spinn, DJ Rashad, DJ Clent). It’s good. Very good. Just as likely to be confronting to the uninitiated listener as the first volume and a genuinely exciting addition to the collection of those who have been already following. Like B McGhee, I’m loathe to either describe or theorize it, in a way. It feels like an act of appropriation. Except I’ve got Eshun ringing in my ears.
The following is from his extraordinary (and difficult) book on so-called “Black Atlantic Futurism,” More Brilliant Than The Sun, published back in 1998. “Allegedly at odds with the rock press, dance-press writing also turns its total inability to describe any kind of rhythm into a virtue,” Eshun writes. “You can see that the entire British dance press […] constitutes a colossal machine for maintaining rhythm as an unwritable, ineffable mystery. And this is why Trad dance-music journalism is nothing more than lists and menus, bits and bytes: meager, miserly, mediocre.” We’ve come a long way since 1998, it seems to me, and not just in Britain, but the rhetoric of ineffability — as a kind of magical music-crit get-out-of-jail-free card — remains strong. So here’s me having a go at theorizing footwork anyway. Or rather, here’s how footwork’s been theorizing me.
Divorced from the “streets,” the context, the “battles,” the people, and “scene” that produced it, I can’t shake the feeling that Bangs & Works Vol. 2 is all about time. Not time in the way that the hauntologists and hypnagogues are interested in it; not time as in history, or the lack of it (though, what with footwork’s considerable dependency on samples, there is certainly an element of that going on); but I’m talking about time as in duration: speed, velocity, meter.
Let me be clear. I’m not just saying that footwork is fast. That’s obvious and also not particularly interesting. What I’m saying is that footwork really fucks with your expectations in relation to the divisibility of musical time itself. The jettisoning of house’s reliable 4/4 kick — the one that juke remains wedded to — is key in this respect. With footwork, there’s pulse, yes, but it can be hard as hell to put your finger on. And invariably, the moment you feel like you’ve got it, it’s gone again: like a ghost in the wind. Footwork isn’t just syncopated (like jazz). It doesn’t just stutter (like wonky). And it’s not just that it’s regularly ‘de-quantised’ (also like wonky). Footwork is microscopic. It’s not interested in 4ths or 8ths or even 16ths at all. Footwork’s basic unit of rhythm is the nano.
That, it seems to me, is partly why footworkers dance the way they do. That’s why the somatechnics it draws upon are so fricking small and intricate. And it’s also why Bangs & Works Vol. 2 makes for such a confronting listen. It completely messes with our received notions of musical duration. The relevant markers here aren’t bars or beats; they’re each and every one of those frenetic midi snare hits.
On a track like Traxman’s “Brainwash,” the interruption of the listener’s expectations in relation to meter is so utterly complete that it feels almost as if pulse has been completely discarded. Except it hasn’t. It’s just been reduced. Same with a track like Tha Pope’s “When You” (in spite of the intro) and a whole bunch of others. In other words, despite what your body may be telling you, there’s definitely meaning to this ‘madness.’ It’s just that if you’re looking for a toe-tapping 4/4 or a coma-inducing skank in two, you’re not going to find it here.
There’s a sense in which James Blake and footwork are polar opposites of the same (dis)continuum then. Blake (and The xx and a few other UK post-dubsteppers) are interested in space, whereas Chicago’s footwork scene is interested in compression. And so perhaps it’s not surprising that Blake et al. are all about vinyl, whereas the majority of footwork artists are perfectly happy with a 192 kbps MP3. Where on a release like “Order/Pan,” Blake’s interested to see just how wide he can stretch musical space; Bangs & Works Vol. 2 is mostly an exercise in squeezing it.
It’s fitting in a way. Two Futuremusics, from opposite sides of the Atlantic, both interested in time. This is perhaps the axis on which the battle for our bodies will increasingly be fought. After all, as Eshun puts it, “The bedroom, the party, the dancefloor, the rave: these are the labs where the 21st C nervous systems assemble themselves, the matrices of the Futurhythmachinic Discontinuum.”
01. RP Boo - Heavy Heat02. Jlin - Erotic Heat03. DJ Earl - Hit Da Bootz04. DJ Rashad & Gant-Man - Heaven Sent05. DJ Metro - Burn Dat Boi06. DJ Clent - Ball’em Up07. DJ MC - Y Fall08. DJ Spinn - Crazy ‘n’ Deranged09. Traxman - Funky Block10. DJ Rome - Showtime11. DJ T-Why - Finished12. Tha Pope - When You13. Boylan - Bullet Proof Soul14. Jlin - Asylum15. DJ T-Why - Orbits16. DJ Roc - Get Buck Juice17. Traxman - Brainwash18. DJ Clent - DJ Clent #119. DJ Metro - Smak My Bitch Up20. Young Smoke - Space Muzik Pt.321. DJ T-Why - Juice22. DJ Solo - What Have You Done23. Young Smoke - Psycho War24. Young Smoke - Wouldn’t Get Far25. DJ Metro - Tekno Bangz26. RP Boo - Off Da Hook
― flopson, Monday, 16 January 2012 15:26 (1 year ago) Permalink
id be interested in someone explaining the diff between juke & footwork, i have a group of friends who are really into this stuff (altho moreso the machinedrum-axis than chicago) & call it footwork. i had the impression juke was more clubby/dancey?
i've been listening to tonnes of this stuff lately. something so addictive & unique about the particular way the music jars. it's similar to what that review's getting at but something a friend of mine said about footwork really openned up the way i thought about it: it's basically psychedelic but exclusively through the use of percussion.
i also find the music really engaging, in the sense that it requires a high level of engagement in order to even access it. like, if you listen to it passively (incl even momentarily phasing out) it just sounds like random, grooveless cacophony, but if you get into it you adapt to & figure out the counterintuitive beats. almost like each song is a kind of puzzle you have to make sense of before dancing to
― flopson, Monday, 16 January 2012 15:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, I'm totally into this stuff at the moment, so it's good to hear others are. It's a total game-changer and flopson's on the money about having to "engage" with the music. I guess that's the point and the whole difference btwn footwork and juke is that one is club music and the other is functional music for dance battles. As such it's designed to trip dancers over and wrong-side them so they literally have to think with their feet.
I like how the opening RP Boo track sounds so weird but then turns into a sort of Coltrane/Sun Ra style serial jazz thing. I also like the Traxman tune that sounds like badly-cut up electro/synthwave.
― I want your nose, your shoes and your unicycle (dog latin), Monday, 16 January 2012 16:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
i heard this incredible juke remix of "the only thing i would wish for" by angela bofill the other night... really wish i could find it :(
― I had to google gucci mane (The Brainwasher), Monday, 16 January 2012 18:11 (1 year ago) Permalink
http://www.rhythm-incursions.com/2011/10/07/om-unit-the-phillip-d-kick-experiment-footwork-jungle-vol-3/ seen these yet?
― I want your nose, your shoes and your unicycle (dog latin), Monday, 16 January 2012 18:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
I kinda wish this would become a thing(mute the first vid)
― the boy with the gorn at his side (Edward III), Monday, 16 January 2012 19:28 (1 year ago) Permalink